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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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with every other fact. In practice, this involved the commence-
ment of a course of study by a careful memorizing of one part
of a subject until it becomes an integral part of mind, and then
linking it up with the subject as a whole. Thus, in the study of
French, he made his pupils begin by committing to memory six
books of Fenelon's Telemaque, and got them to concentrate
attention first on the words, then the sentences, then the grammar,
and finally the whole context, by means of a great variety of

In Jacotot's case, paradox, though rampant, was kept from
degenerating into impractical phantasy by the need to make
his ideas work in actual teaching. Fourier lacked this check,
and the result is to be seen in the extravagances of his work on
Natural Education. Children are to be taken away from their
parents and entrusted to public nurses, more faithful to nature
than they. All the childish instincts and idiosyncracies are to
be respected and developed: even unpleasant propensities, like
destructiveness and contempt for property, are not to be suppres-
sed but turned to account by setting the children who manifest
them in marked degree to the pursuit of reptiles and dangerous
animals, or to the cleansing of sewers. Discipline and obedience
are not required from the young. Acquaintance with practical
affairs is to provide them with the most important part of their
training in an attractive way. At the age of four, for example,
they are to be taken walks through factories and shops, in the
expectation that the sight of the tools used may suggest their
vocations to them. An occupation like cooking, again, has the
greatest educational value. " The cook of the Fellowship becomes
a scholar of the first rank, since his function is connected with
the sciences of land culture, food preserving, chemistry, medicine,
hygiene and sanitation.'*

There are many curious ideas of this kind in the educational
dreams of the time. But it would be a mistake to lose sight
of the wisdom that mingled with the folly. This is especially
true in the case of the followers of St. Simon. Though they
too were strongly antagonistic to the existing society, and by
no means free from eccentricity in their devices for social re-
generation, they were saved from the aggressive individualism
of die Fourierists by their conception of the new society, as
animated by a new non-supernatural Christianity, and organized